‘More concrete mechanisms’ needed to combat homophobic violence, bullying in schools – report


It is believed that violence and bullying in schools, based on children’s sexual orientation and/or identity, is a serious concern and a new report suggests that more concrete systems are needed to combat this.

The report is titled: ‘Piloting the LGBTI Inclusion Index in Guyana.’ It was presented on Monday at the Herdmanston Lodge, Georgetown.

According to the report, no concrete mechanisms exist specifically for reporting cases of discrimination, violence, and bullying towards students based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics.

This includes incidents perpetrated by representatives of the education sector such as teachers and other school staff.

It, however, noted that issues can be reported to the head of a school’s administration and further, the Welfare Department of the Ministry of Education.

“(It is an) issue we know has been happening in schools for a while.

“We’ve dealt with some matters very quietly working with the ministry… We also want to re-engage the Minister of Education,” Managing Director of the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) Joel Simpson.

Simpson reminded the gathering that in recent months, there have been reports of children being bullied in schools because of their sexual orientation and/or identity. Based on those reports, the Education Ministry has been investigating those and providing support to the affected children.

A fifth-form student of St. John’s College in Georgetown recently alleged that he was abused by teachers and his peers, prompting an investigation by the Ministry of Education.

The young man complained of the physical, mental, and verbal abuse he faced at the school in a Facebook post made earlier in September. He also uploaded a video of another student hitting him.

He claimed that he faced this abuse because of his sexuality; he identifies as a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ+) community.

Much attention, Simpson said, was directed towards this student and similar instances because they shared their stories on social media. The Managing Director, however, said that violence and bullying continue to happen in schools.

With the report suggesting that more concrete mechanisms needed to support schoolchildren, Simpson also suggested that teachers undergo continuous education training so that they would be better equipped to deal with those issues and concerns.

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